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Automobiles

Hyundai considers EV version of Santa Cruz pickup in US market

The EV pickup will likely compete with the likes of Rivian R1T, GM Hummer and Ford’s F-150 Lightning

By Sep 21, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Hyundai Motor's Santa Cruz pickup
Hyundai Motor's Santa Cruz pickup

Hyundai Motor Co. plans to roll out an electric version of the Santa Cruz pickup, the South Korea automaker’s first model for the American market, to enter the hotly contested segment.

According to auto industry sources, Hyundai Motor is considering launching all-electric and hybrid models of the compact pickup truck.

The top Korean automaker will use the existing Santa Cruz platform with batteries added to manufacture the pickup’s electric version, instead of using Hyundai’s dedicated EV platform, E-GMP, the sources said.

The exact timing of the launch of the Santa Cruz EV hasn’t been decided yet, they said.

Hyundai launched the Santa Cruz, dedicated for the American market, this summer, targeting young, female drivers who favor smaller pickups over full-size ones, competing head to head with the Ford Maverick in the segment.

Ford Motor's all-electric F-150 Lightning
Ford Motor's all-electric F-150 Lightning

The Santa Cruz comes standard with front-wheel-drive, but all-wheel-drive is optional along with the choice of either a 180 horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine or 275 horsepower turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.

According to US media reports, the Alabama-built Santa Cruz was the fastest-selling vehicle in August, the first month it went on sale.

RACE TO OFFER EV TRUCKS

The move to launch a Santa Cruz EV comes as several automakers are set to offer electric pickups in coming years in line with the Biden administration’s push to have half of new cars sold in American as electric by 2030.

In mid-September, US EV startup Rivian, backed by Amazon and Ford, became the first automaker to bring an electric pickup to the consumer market, beating Tesla, General Motors Co. and others.

GM's GMC Hummer EV
GM's GMC Hummer EV

Rivian’s R1T electric pickup truck, equipped with Samsung SDI Co.'s battery pack, has an official range of 314 miles (505 km) at a base price of $67,500.

The US EV startup has also registered its trademark with the South Korean authorities, leaving the door open for its entry into the Korean market.

EV TRUCKS LINED UP

Rivian will be followed by a handful of other automakers to produce an electric pickup by next year.

GM is projected to be next this fall with the GMC Hummer EV pickup, followed next year by Ford and then Tesla, which recently pushed back deliveries of its Cybertruck from this year to late 2022.

The Rivian R1T all-electric pickup
The Rivian R1T all-electric pickup

Last week, Ford said it plans to invest an additional $250 million and add 450 jobs across three Michigan facilities to double annual production capacity for the F-150 Lightning to 80,000 units.

The Detroit automaker has now invested about $950 million in production of a hybrid version of the F-150 and the electric F-150.

“We knew the F-150 Lightning was special, but the interest from the public has surpassed our highest expectations,” said Ford Chair Bill Ford.

In the US, Ford is the largest pickup truck maker with sales of about 880,000 units in 2020, followed by GM and Stellantis.

Hyundai Motor's Santa Cruz pickup
Hyundai Motor's Santa Cruz pickup

Hyundai Motor Group said in May it will pump $7.4 billion into its US operations by 2025, with a focus on future mobility segments, including electric vehicles (EVs).

The infusion will allow the group’s Hyundai Motor and Kia Corp. to build American-made electric vehicles.

Write to Hyung-Kyu Kim at khk@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.
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